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Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Hostages & Family

Much of the world with access to television must have seen the most recent liberation of FARC hostages in Colombia. Ingrid Betancourt was the most publicized, but the three Americans, Keith Stansell, Marc Gonsalves, and Thomas Howes - all defence contractors - were recently interviewed on an international news channel and adamantly and insistently reiterated one single point:

Family is more important than everything else.

If you saw the photographs of Ingrid Betancourt greeting first her mother, and then her children, you will agree that she clearly feels the same way.

Interestingly, the day after I viewed the above interview of the three Americans on CNN, I read an article this weekend in Spain's daily El Mundo weekend magazine by Eduardo Punset, a Spanish lawyer and economist who has written for The Economist.

The article referred to the fact that MRI scans and neuro-imaging have given us the possibility of measuring emotional processes. Before we had that, we did not know what went on inside with regards to our emotions. We did not know, for example, he writes, that if we have no sensation of having any control over anything in our lives, it is impossible for us to be happy. And neuro-scientists such as Antonio Damasio or psychologists such as Daniel Gilbert (also see Why We Are Happy and Why We Are Not) have now been able to demonstrate conclusively that much more than money - at least once we have enough for survival - our love relationships are what make us happy.

Family, love, relatedness. Let us not forget as we go about our busy daily lives. Family, love, relatedness.

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Photo: Guipuzcoa - pronounced we-poohth-co-ah (Basque Country) Spain

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